Terminology, Glossary and Definitions Guide

 1.    Leather types and terms



Cowhides are select bovine hides that are naturally dried and tanned to ensure extreme softness and durability. "Hair-on cowhide" features the animal's natural fur for a rugged look and feel.



Deerskin Leather is leather created from the hide of deer. They generally used it for clothing and moccasins. Today Deerskin Leather is used for a wide variety of items including shoes, coats and luxury handbags.


Reindeer Hides

Reindeer hides are very soft and warm as the animals live in the Arctic regions – some of the coldest climates on earth. They come in varying shades of natural browns, creams and greys.


Lambskin (Slink skin)

Also referred to as Slink skin. Newly born lambs that do not survive are processed to produce one of the world's softest and lightest double face leathers. Due to the small size of the leathers, the cost per square feet is higher than almost any other leather.


Curly Sheepskin

Sometimes referred to as "slink lamb," curly suede is the name given to sheepskin with tight curls on one side and a suede finish on the other.


Ironed Sheepskin

A Sheepskin that has had its wool straightened, yielding an elegant, smooth, fur-like appearance.



Shearling is a sheepskin or lambskin pelt that has been shorn once for a wool finish that's uniform in look, length, and feel. Tanned with the wool intact, shearling pelts typically feature a suede leather surface on one side and shorn wool on the other.



Napa is the generic name for soft, smooth leather from hides of different animals. It is a full grain smooth leather. This leather was known for its particularly smooth and supple softness.



Nubuck is top-grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibres, producing a velvet-like surface. It is resistant to wear and may be white or coloured.



Leather that has had the underside buffed to produce a textured, velvety hand. Suede is a type of fuzzy leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, shoes, shirts, purses, furniture, and other items.



The usually black pelt of a fetal karakul sheep, having soft, silky fur with wavy markings, or sometimes of a newborn lamb, having glossy, tightly curled hair.


2.    Fur types and terms



Soft, luxurious fox comes in the most comprehensive range of natural colours of any fur, except for mink. Natural colour varieties include a silver cross, crystal blue, red, grey, and white; pelts are also able to be dyed in fashionable colours. Fox fur features long, lustrous guard hairs with thick, soft underfur.



Soft, silky, and extremely popular, rabbit is wonderfully lightweight and warm. Typically, rabbit features medium-length guard hairs and is often sheared or grooved for a sporty look.



Possum fur's fibres are hollow, lightweight and good at retaining warmth. The hollow fibre structure means air can be trapped inside the fibre, creating a barrier between the internal heat of the garment and the garment wearer, against the external cold. There are two colour forms of the species - grey and black, with many variations in appearance.


3.    Wool types and terms



Alpaca fleece is the natural fibre harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fibre. While similar to sheep's wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic.



A famously soft fabric, Cashmere comes from the down of Kashmir goats. The process used to separate the soft fibres from the longer, coarser hairs is time-intensive and challenging, which is one of the reasons Cashmere is so highly prized (it takes the fleece from over two goats to make a two-ply sweater and six goats for a sports jacket). Cashmere can be used on its own or blended with silk, cotton, or wool.



Merino wool is acquired from Merino sheep, commonly found in the mountainous regions of New Zealand. It is thinner than regular wool. It is milder, more adaptable and less irritated. This wool is additionally very durable as a result of its quality and natural flexibility.



Double-faced fabrics are a form of double cloth made of one warp and two sets of wefts, or two warps and one weft. These fabrics have two right sides or faces and no wrong side.



Mohair is usually a silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. Both durable and resilient, mohair is notable for its high lustre and sheen, which has helped gain it the nickname the "Diamond Fiber" and is often used in fibre blends to add these qualities to a textile.



Woven fabric is any textile formed by weaving. Woven fabrics are often created on a loom and made of many threads woven on a warp and a weft. Technically, a woven fabric is any fabric made by interlacing two or more threads at right angles to one another.


4.    Leather Making Process Terms



Soaking is the first process of leather manufacturing. Hides and skins, when received from the tannery, are in a condition of preservation based on dehydration. Therefore, the purpose of soaking is to make skins wet back and bring them to a flaccid state for subsequent operations.



This process includes removal of the hair, preparing the hides for the tanning process.



Cutting leather into two or more layers or cutting leather into two sides preparatory to tanning.



The tanning of raw sheepskin is carried out by a tannery and involves numerous stages to turn a raw hide into a leather end product. We purchase rugs and other sheepskin products directly from New Zealand's best sheepskin tanneries.



The shaving process is carried out to reduce or even out the thickness throughout the hide or skin. The hides and skins are put through a machine with a rapidly revolving cylinder cutting fine, thin fragments from the flesh side.



Dyeing is a process of colouring leather, which allows the fuel to quickly absorb into the leather and bring the pigments to the depths of the fibres.



The leather is dried to various moisture levels (commonly 14-25%).



The process of more or less removing the grain by abrasion.




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man working with leather